TN industry worried as protest gathers pace

R Balaji Chennai | Updated on January 27, 2018


As farmers in Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu oppose the proposed exploration and prospecting for hydrocarbons under the Discovered Small Field policy, industry is worried that the State will be left behind in tapping the benefits of natural gas.

While acknowledging the need to take stakeholders along and ensure farmers are not affected, industry sources say the government should look at alternative solutions. Steps to enhance gas availability and distribution pipeline infrastructure have to be expedited and imported natural gas made available to houses and industry.

Meanwhile, the momentum of the protest at Neduvasal village in Pudukottai has not slackened. While there has been no move by the official machinery to educate farmers and the concerned public to make an informed decision, it has become a fertile ground for activists and politicians looking for mileage. .

Last week, the Oil Ministry had said that there are over 700 wells in Tamil Nadu, producing about 600 tonnes of oil and 30 lakh cu m of natural gas daily. But they do not hamper agriculture in the vicinity or pose a hazard to environment and human health.

But on site, an entirely different picture is being painted.

Industry representatives believe this is one more failure of the authorities in reaching out to the stakeholders. It is the government’s responsibility to rope in experts and academicians to enhance public awareness. But it may be a little late in the day for Neduvasal.

Also read p5

Published on March 03, 2017

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